View Full Version : U.S. Official Matthew Hoh Resigns in Protest of Afghanistan War Policy

10-27-2009, 02:00 PM
Matthew Hoh, the senior U.S. civilian in Afghanistan's Zabul province, resigned in protest because he believes the American effort there is simply fueling the insurgency, the Washington Post reported (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/26/AR2009102603394.html?hpid=topnews) Tuesday. Hoh, a former Marine Corps captain who also served in Iraq, wrote a four-page letter (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/hp/ssi/wpc/ResignationLetter.pdf) to the State Department's head of personnel in September, and his resignation became official last week.

"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," he wrote in the letter. "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."

Hoh's letter caused a stir in the Obama administration, and he was hastened to meetings with senior U.S. officials in Kabul and Washington. They praised his record of service and begged him to stay, offering him new positions in both locations. Hoh initially accepted the Washington job, but changed his mind a week later.

Hoh said that his act of protest and decision to speak out were painful, even "nauseating" at times, but he was strongly motivated by the friends he had lost on the battlefield and the mental anguish he has experienced since returning home. "I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, 'Listen, I don't think this is right,' " he explained, adding that he "is not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love."

Hoh will meet with Joe Biden's foreign policy adviser this week, and will advise a reduction in troops. He said he feels the U.S. "has an obligation for it not to be a bloodbath," but that Afghans are resistant to what they see as a military occupation.

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/10/27/u-s-official-resigns-in-protest-of-afghanistan-war-policy/?icid=main|main|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.politic sdaily.com%2F2009%2F10%2F27%2Fu-s-official-resigns-in-protest-of-afghanistan-war-policy%2F%0D%0A (http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/10/27/u-s-official-resigns-in-protest-of-afghanistan-war-policy/?icid=main%7Cmain%7Cdl1%7Clink3%7Chttp%3A%2F%2Fwww .politicsdaily.com%2F2009%2F10%2F27%2Fu-s-official-resigns-in-protest-of-afghanistan-war-policy%2F%0D%0A)

John of Phoenix
10-27-2009, 04:11 PM
This guy is no REMF either. He's seen the war both as a decorated combatant and frustrated diplomat and he really understands what's going on.

Hoh was assigned to research the response to a question asked by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during an April visit. Mullen wanted to know why the U.S. military had been operating for years in the Korengal Valley, an isolated spot near Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan where a number of Americans had been killed. Hoh concluded that there was no good reason. The people of Korengal didn't want them; the insurgency appeared to have arrived in strength only after the Americans did, and the battle between the two forces had achieved only a bloody stalemate.

Korengal and other areas, he said, taught him "how localized the insurgency was. I didn't realize that a group in this valley here has no connection with an insurgent group two kilometers away." Hundreds, maybe thousands, of groups across Afghanistan, he decided, had few ideological ties to the Taliban but took its money to fight the foreign intruders and maintain their own local power bases.

"That's really what kind of shook me," he said. "I thought it was more nationalistic. But it's localism. I would call it valley-ism."

They fight us simply because we're there. Just as they've fought (and defeated) every other occupier who's been there in the last thousand years. McCrystal wants to send another 40 thousand GIs into the maw in the expectation of what? That history won't repeat itself for once? To accomplish what? Impose a corrupt government on people who neither want nor even need it?

It will be interesting to see where Hoh ends up.

10-27-2009, 05:07 PM
We need more honesty like this guy. It's going to be an interesting decision coming up for Obama. It may make or break him as Prez.